Saturday, July 21, 2012

Arroz con Gandules (Puertorican style rice)

Here is my recipe for my world famous Puertorican style rice with pigeon peas. Ok, maybe it's not world famous, but I always get TONS of compliments for this recipe. This is enough for 5-6 people, but I always like to make a little extra for leftovers. It tastes even better the next day.
The ingredients list contains links to pictures of the products. I've used mainly Goya products, but if you can use any brand of preference.

5 cups of uncooked long grain white rice
1 can of pigeon peas (gandules)
1/2 pack of bacon
1 small jar of roasted red peppers (or these: pimientos morrones sold at Walmart)
3 tablespoons of spanish olives
2 packets of Sazón con culantro y achiote
1 packet of Goya ham flavoring
2 tablespoons of sofrito**
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
5 cups of water
Salt to taste


  • Dice the bacon and place in a large stew pot if you don't have a traditional aluminum rice pot. Place over medium low heat and allow the bacon to render all of the fat. The bacon should be well cooked.
  • Slice the roasted red peppers (fancy pimentos) into small thin strips. If you buy the ones that are already sliced just dump it in the pot. 
  • Add the sofrito, tomato paste, roasted red peppers, olives, and the packets of seasoning. Stir all of the ingredients together and allow to simmer for a few minutes on medium low heat. 
  • Add the uncooked rice and coat the rice with the ingredients in the pot.
  • Add the water and mix well. Increase the heat to medium high. 
  • Add salt to taste. 
  • Allow the water to evaporate, reduce heat to low, stir well, and cover for 20 minutes. The rice should have doubled in volume at this point.
  • Stir making sure that all the rice that was on top ends up on the bottom cover for an additional 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately. 
** For my sofrito recipe I usually only use garlic, onions, green peppers and cilantro. You can add whatever vegetables you like to make it your own. I make sofrito in big batches so we always have on hand. 

Tips for sofrito: You can freeze in little baggies as the video recommends or you can make sofrito ice cubes (the ice cube tray will keep the sofrito flavor, so you won't be able to use it again for regular ice) and then place them in a ziploc bag and use as needed. Frozen sofrito will keep in your freezer for about 6 months. 

You can use sofrito in any recipe. As a base for marinades, in soups, stews, spanish style rice. The possibilities are endless. So if you cook often, I recommend making a larger batch. 

Vegan variation: 
  • Omit the bacon 
  • Add 1/8 cup of cooking oil (your preference) after you add the water
  • You can still use the ham flavoring as it contains only artificial ham flavor 
If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear how it turns out. :) 

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